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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-02-09, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
Dirge Eterna
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Default Steel Talons

Hellos to any and all, this is my next project, a story of the Steel Talons Order on Thracia. Just so you all know, this is what keeps me from going completely crazy from boredom out here, so post feedback! Let me know what you think is cool, or lame, or insane!

1. Potential
2. Boot
3. Steel Talons
4. Old Gregor
5. Sierra Tempest
6. Breaking Through
7. Stubborn
8. A Knight in Full
9. The Council of Jhoran
10. Declaration
11. Whatever it Takes
12. 97 Seconds
13. Downfall
14. The Cost


Thracia Equatorial Mines, 1600 hours.

Ethan Wright moved slowly. He fought off the edges of Rex Ferra's machine-voice.

The machine encased his entire body, a system of hydraulics and pistons moving him along the shaft. His father piloted the Fortanas Nox next to him.

"You got it, son?" asked the elder Wright. The miners of Thracia used simple exoskeletons, two and a half times the size of a man, fitted with breacher drills and seismic hammers to extract adamantium, flexsteel, and other minerals from Thracia's mantle, sending it to the warrior Orders high over their heads. Ethan had never even seen Thracia's sun.

"I can handle it. The right side seems a little weak." he said. Rex Ferra was an old, cantankerous machine, prone to jamming and breaks, but he had forged a hard-earned peace with it's machine-spirit over six months of mining.

"Alright. We're going to shaft nine today, Horgan broke through to a vein last night. He wants us to take a look."

The two mining suits turned on the spot, heading downwards into the mine's lower reaches. Horgan's suit swam into view as their floodlights flickered into life. He led the pair to the end of the shaft, and paused.

"There shouldn't be a tunnel here." said Horgan. Ethan pulled up the map of the mines. Sure enough, shaft nine ended where they were standing, but a second tunnel branched off into the darkness, going downwards at an amazing angle.

"Too angled to be rock drilled. We should call it in." said Ethan's father. His machine stepped up to the hole, it's lights moving down to peer into the deep.

"Something's down there, I'm picking up auspex. Might be a suit." he said. "Hello! Anyone there!? Do you need help!?"

Ethan picked out a shuffling, cracking noise.

A massive brown-scaled creature exploded from the opposite wall, smashing into Horgan's back. The miner went down, the beast clawing at his suit. The creature was fully the size of the exoskeleton, with long fangs and four yellow eyes. Horgan screeched in agony as the claws finally reached him, pulling him from the machine in a welter of gore.

"Tunnel Dragon!" howled Ethan's father. The miners had faced them before; vast, reptillian creatures native to Thracia. He turned, the seismic hammer on his suit powering up. Ethan did the same, moving to stand next to his father.

The pit behind them moved.

"Behind you!" he shouted. Ethan's father swung around as fast as his suit could move, seeing another Dragon lurch from the blackness. A claw batted the suit down, pinning the man. His father's hammer swung up, exploding the dragon in a shower of blood, but the second Dragon leapt on him, claws and teeth bloody from Horgan's slaughter.

Ethan ran forward as fast as he could, unwilling to believe the Dragon's claws growing steadily redder, the machine's struggles getting weaker, and finally stopping. The breacher on his left arm rose to a screaming pitch. He lunged, stabbing the creature. It was obviously the alpha male, nearly twice the size of the dragon his father had killed, nearly one and a half again as large as Ethan, even in the mining suit.

It howled and smashed him across the shaft, crushing his hammer arm under the weight of the machine. He tasted blood. The dragon lunged, claws outstretched, and everything slowed down.

Ethan felt a cool, calm sensation seep into his battered frame. He stepped forward calmly, raising the breacher drill with a squeal of tortured metal. The dragon smashed into him. The drill cut a deep hole into the creature, making it howl in rage and pain. Loops of intestine and organs were sucked from it's innards by the force. It opened it's jaws, and crushed Ethan Wright into the bowels of his suit.


"-he OK?"

"Looks that way. How are the others?"

"Dead. Both of them."

"-lly grown tunnel dragon. He's the right stuff."

"Back to the Mons, then?"

"Yep. Pry him out and let's get moving. Old Gregor's expecting us back."

Ethan opened one eye, the other was gummed shut by dried blood.

"Who- who are you?" he said slowly, to no one in particular. A massive machine, smoke grey with a blue eagle design painted on it's shoulder, turned at the noise.

"Don't worry about me." it said. "Sleep."

He closed his eyes, and the world went away.

You'll forgive me, but you must be mistaken. I've met your makers, and they don't even know your name...

(Updated Mar. 19)

Hat in the Ring
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